Dennis Rodman

A guide for Bulls fans to the new 30 for 30, 'Rodman: For Better or Worse'

A guide for Bulls fans to the new 30 for 30, 'Rodman: For Better or Worse'

On Tuesday night ESPN debuted the much-anticipated 30 for 30, "Rodman: For Better or Worse". The film took a deep dive into how Rodman went from a shy and impoverished youth to the iconic and polarizing NBA Hall of Famer that we all know him as today. Although the film focused on Rodman's entire career and post-playing days exploits, Bulls fans certainly got what they needed in terms of intriguing 90s Bulls content to tide them over as they await the mega-Michael Jordan documentary 'The Last Dance' in 2020.

Here are the best moments from 'Rodman: For Better or Worse' for Bulls Nation to enjoy. 

1. 'The List'

The Bulls shocked the basketball world in 1995 when they pulled off a trade that no one saw coming. Many analysts were pointing out that the Bulls struggled on the boards in the absence of Horace Grant, who left for the Orlando Magic as an unrestricted free agent in 1994. So Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and head coach Phil Jackson agreed that the Bulls needed to pursue a competent power forward to help move Toni Kukoc back down to the small forward position. So Jackson decided he needed to make a formal list of players to target. 

Jackson's list ultimately contained five players and Rodman was indeed the fifth player on the list.

We do not know who the other four players on the list were and that is one of the most interesting aspects of Rodman getting to Chicago. Who were the other four players on that list? Maybe Shawn Kemp, whom the Bulls almost traded for in 1994? Charles Oakley, who is a close friend of Jordan and was a top 10 rebounder in 1994? Or perhaps Jackson even wanted to attempt to bring 'ol Horace Grant back into the fold. 

The acquisition of Rodman was the key to extending the NBA Championship window of the Jordan and Scottie Pippen Bulls, so how the dynasty would have fared had they traded for one of the other four names on Jackson's list is one of the great "What ifs?" in Bulls history.

2. Pardon many shots of Jaeger

Rodman was just as famous for his excessive partying as he was for his dominant rebounding and one specific night added significantly to his legend. In Rodman: For Better or Worse it was revealed that during one particularly raucous night of partying, 'The Worm' took 40 shots of Jagermeister and again, just to clarify, this is one night we are talking about here. It generated some great responses from NBA Twitter.

40 shots, one night and somehow that isn't even the most impressive part of the story. After taking those 40 shots of Jagermeister that night, the legend goes that somehow Rodman managed to make it to practice the next morning. There truly is, only one Dennis Rodman.

3. Shocking words from the GOAT

Dennis Rodman has had a wild ride getting to where he is now. Above, we mentioned the extent to which Rodman partied. He even refers to his infamous wedding dress, book-signing event as "the beginning of the rockstar Dennis Rodman."

But "Rockstar Dennis Rodman" was so intense that the GOAT himself thought things were going to be headed south if Rodman didn't ease up on his partying and excessive late-night socializing. 

“In all honesty, playing with Dennis and the lifestyle he lived, I never thought he’d ever see 40”

-Michael Jordan on Dennis Rodman

It is quite a shocking statement to see from Jordan, who was obviously worried about Rodman despite the fact that the 6-foot-7 forward was always in remarkable shape and led the league in rebounding during all three of his seasons with the Bulls. But again, while fans simply saw the highlights, MJ had a behind-the-scenes look at what Rodman was up to on a constant basis and as current Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich—who was the general manager when the Spurs traded Rodman for Will Perdue—can attest to, Rodman's partying did not slow down during the season.

4. Everyone wants to be like Mike...even 'The Worm' 

While the assumption would be that Rodman always disliked Jordan due to his aggression against him during the Bad Boys Pistons days, it turns out that Rodman was just as big of an MJ fan as the rest of us. 

In Rodman: For Better or Worse it was shown that Rodman always had a ton of respect for Jordan and even idolized him. Former Pistons and Bulls forward John Salley kept it very, almost too real, when sharing how much Rodman admired Jordan. Salley went as far as to say that Rodman "loves Micahel Jordan's dirty-ass drawers."

Rodman stated that he also "loved Phil from day one" and longtime Bulls writer Sam Smith discussed how the unique leadership structure of the Bulls contributed heavily to Rodman fitting in so well. In the end, the second three-peat might've never happened without Rodman and he almost wasn't a part of the team. Reports state that Scottie Pippen was against the acquisition of Rodman and that he had to be convinced that the move was a good one.

Who do you ask led the charge in convincing Pippen that Rodman would be a good addition? Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. 

5. Before the legendary Anthony Davis growth spurt, there was Rodman's incredible transformation 

Chicago-native and NBA superstar Anthony Davis' legend grew when it became widespread information that he grew 8 inches in 18 months, turning him into the lanky big man he is today. But before Davis' spurt, there was Rodman, who had a remarkable growth spurt after high school. The number has been disputed, but it was stated that Rodman grew between 8-to-11 inches after finishing high school. While experiencing this growth spurt, Rodman was working as an overnight janitor at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. 

Rodman had quit basketball as he didn't have enough skill to garner serious playing time from any coach. But after his growth spurt, he got back into the game, playing his first college basketball at North Central Texas College. Rodman didn't last long there due to academic struggles and eventually made his way to Southeastern Oklahoma University, where he became the top rebounder in the NAIA twice and was named a three-time NAIA All-American. 

That fateful growth spurt (obviously) had huge implications on Rodman's life, sending him down a path that ended in him becoming a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest and most beloved Bulls in franchise history. 

Dennis Rodman opens up about time with Bulls in run-up to documentary release

Dennis Rodman opens up about time with Bulls in run-up to documentary release

Who is Dennis Rodman? That is the question at the heart of the 30 for 30 documentary “Rodman: For Better or Worse” which will premiere on ESPN Tuesday, September 10 at 8 p.m. CT.

The film will trace Rodman’s life back to humble beginnings growing up in Dallas, through his journeyman career in the NBA — which, notably, featured an extended, accolade-rich run with the Chicago Bulls — and delve into his struggles with addiction and fame. The prevailing theme, though, is sure to be Rodman’s unbridled expressiveness and perpetual grappling with identity, on and off the court. 

Here is the trailer for the documentary, which was released by ESPN back in August:

In the run-up to the film’s debut, Rodman conducted a wide-ranging interview with Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin. In it, the Hall-of-Fame forward discussed how his relationship with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen has endured since their time playing together during the golden era of Bulls basketball.

“[We] have so much love for each other now because we're not haters with each other,” Rodman told Bleacher Report. “We embrace the fact that we had a chance to play with each other. We're friends. We're not calling each other every day and hanging out, but when we see each other, we share the love.”

Years after winning two consecutive titles with the Bad Boy Pistons in the late 1980’s, Rodman linked up with Jordan and Pippen in 1995 and helped the Bulls rattle off their second three-peat in eight years from 1996-1998. He was the unquestioned third banana of what some would argue is the greatest Big Three in NBA history.

“[We] revolutionized the game. The way everyone plays now, that's how we played then. And now all of a sudden everyone's talking about Big Threes. Now? Really? We were the Big Three,” Rodman said. “We were the main three. We consistently won, we consistently won championships.”

Rodman also made headlines by saying in passing that the Bulls’ dynastic run ended because of a financial dispute between MJ and Bulls’ management: “[T]he only reason we didn't repeat four in a row is because Mike said, ‘I want X millions of dollars.’ And they didn't want to pay him, so he left, I left, Scottie left and Phil Jackson left… That's how the run ended.”

Regardless of your thoughts on Rodman’s off-court exploits and commentary, his basketball resume (five-time champion, two-time DPOY, seven-time consecutive rebound champion) and cultural impact are undeniable. The film should be a compelling watch.

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'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10


'Rodman: For Better or Worse' 30 for 30 will debut on September 10

On Friday ESPN revealed that the next film in their award-winning 30 for 30 series will focus on the life of former Bull and Hall of Fame forward Dennis Rodman. 

The film—which is titled "Rodman: For Better or Worse" will detail Rodman's journey to becoming a Hall of Famer and five-time NBA Champion. The documentary will detail Rodman's difficult upbringing in Dallas, his dominant run at Southeastern Oklahoma State and his development into one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. 

While Rodman is no doubt one of the greatest talents in NBA history, he is just as famous for his intriguing and oftentimes shocking off the court exploits. Rodman: For Better or Worse will discuss Rodman diving into international diplomacy issues and all of the deeper reasons behind him becoming the interesting character that we know him as today. 

The documentary will feature interviews from former teammates and coaches of Rodman's, including Bill Laimbeer,  John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, and Phil Jackson. 

Rodman: For Better or Worse will be directed by Todd Kapostasy. 

Kapostasy is a seven-time Emmy Award winner. He wrote and directed 2016 documentary 'Confessions of a Cubs Fan: A Century of Waiting', which focused on the idea that winning isn't everything in sports amid the backdrop of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series.

“Rodman: For Better or Worse” released on September 10, at 8 p.m. CT

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